‘And the Oscar goes to… Leonardo DiCaprio!’
You can expect to hear those words echo around the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood this Sunday, as, after years of waiting, Leo finally gets his hands on an Oscar.
DiCaprio is a hot favourite to pick up Best Actor for his performance in The Revenant, in which he writhes around in the mud a lot and gets a little too cuddly with a bear.
It’s somewhat strange that DiCaprio will (likely) win his Oscar for a role which requires him for long stretches to simply lie in a stretcher. All of his great previous performances, whether it’s proclaiming himself ‘king of the world’ in Titanic or snorting copious amounts of drugs in The Wolf of Wall Street, have been kinetic and dynamic. In The Revenant, he does most of his acting with his eyelids.
DiCaprio is set to be crowned after missing out on an acting Oscar on four previous occasions, for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond and The Wolf of Wall Street.
It’s looking like fifth time lucky for Leo, but until Sunday night at least, he’s not the only great actor out there who has yet to win an Oscar.
You won’t believe that none of this lot have been honoured by the Academy.
1. Tom Cruise
The current incarnation of The Cruiser is known for strapping himself to planes and scaling the world’s tallest buildings, but his action man tendencies hide some huge acting chops.
Cruise has come close to Oscar glory with three nominations, each telling its own story. You can’t argue with his performance in Born on the Fourth of July losing out to Daniel Day-Lewis’s in My Left Foot at the 1990 ceremony, but he really should have pipped Geoffrey Rush in the almost forgotten Shine with his brilliant meltdowns in 1996’s Jerry Maguire.
And don’t get me started on Cruise losing out on Best Supporting Actor in 2000 after his amazing work in Magnolia (‘RESPECT THE COCK’) was pipped by Michael Caine’s awful New England accent in sentimental tosh The Cider House Rules.
2. Keira Knightley
I don’t get the backlash against Knightley and I never will. ‘Oh, she’s always in period dramas!’ her detractors cry, a bit like shouting ‘Oh, you’re always cutting inside from the wing and shooting!’ at Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the early part of her career, Knightley was great in costume dramas – so what if she played to her strengths?
She’s been nominated twice for Oscars – for Best Supporting Actress last year in The Imitation Game (sorry, Cumberbatchers, she was the best thing in it) and for her wonderful turn as Lizzy Bennett in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice.
But it’s her work in The Duchess, Begin Again and the astounding – and astoundingly overlooked – Never Let Me Go that stands out. She’ll get her Oscar soon.
3. Harrison Ford
How do you get nominated for an Oscar when the world knows you as not one but two movie icons; Indiana Jones and Han Solo?
Well, Harrison Ford managed it with what is probably the best performance of his career – as John Book, the cop among the Amish in Witness (1985). At that point in his career, Ford thought he was done with Solo and wanted to pursue more challenging roles.
This saw a terrific run of late ’80s movies that saw him in The Mosquito Coast, Frantic and Working Girl. He was also terrific in Air Force One and Patriot Games, but political action movies don’t really attract Oscar attention.
In an ideal world, the Oscars would ditch their stuffiness and reward performances that change the course of film history. Ford could have been nominated for his turns in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, mainly because he just WAS Indiana Jones.
4. Winona Ryder
Ryder has a Golden Globe, but – PAH! – who wants one of those? If Hollywood stars keep their Oscar statuettes in their bathrooms, you can guess where they flush their Golden Globes.
Nominated at the Academy Awards in 1994 for Best Supporting Actress (The Age of Innocence) and Best Actress (Little Women) the following year, Ryder probably should have had nods for Edward Scissorhands, The Crucible, Heathers and Black Swan.
But not Alien: Resurrection though, no way.
5. Samuel L Jackson
When he’s not SHOUTING REALLY LOUDLY, Samuel L Jackson is a damn fine actor. HELL, HE’S A DAMN FINE ACTOR WHEN HE’S SHOUTING TOO!
Cruelly overlooked in his one Best Supporting Actor Oscar nod for Pulp Fiction, Jackson could easily have been nominated for more of his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino. He was sensational in Jackie Brown and absolutely magnetic amid the bloodbath in this year’s The Hateful Eight.
It would be worth giving him an Oscar just to hear his speech.
6. Jessica Chastain
There was a period between 2011 and 2012 in which Jessica Chastain was in every film ever made, which was understandable given she was the best new actress on the block.
Nominated twice for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty, her name in a cast list is always a mark of quality.
Even her non-Oscar chasing stuff excites – check out gripping horror Mama.
7. John Malkovich
He was in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which is perhaps the only reason the Academy haven’t given John Malkovich his Oscar.
Two nominations is unworthy of an actor of his talent. He wasn’t even shortlisted for his stunning work in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), a crime in itself, but not to be nominated for his role as himself and various versions of himself in the bonkers Being John Malkovich (1999) was nothing short of a travesty.
If I had my way, he would also have been recognised with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his sterling work as Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom in Con Air, but I can sort of understand why the Academy chose to overlook it.
8. Glenn Close
Malkovich’s co-star in Dangerous Liaisons did receive a nomination for Best Actress, but was unlucky to come against Jodie Foster in The Accused.
That is just one of six nominations which have failed to materialise into a statuette for Close, so quit your whining, Leo.
When nominated for her bunny-boiling in Fatal Attraction a year before Dangerous Liaisons, she lost out to Cher, back in a time when Cher was a serious actress – and a good one.
9. Brian Cox
Not only has Brian Cox never won an Oscar, he’s never even been nominated for one, remarkable when you consider he is in every film released between 1994 and 2015.
But just because he’s prolific doesn’t mean he’s not fantastic.
Cox’s brilliance stretches all the way back to 1986 and Manhunter, in which he played the original Hannibal ‘Lecktor’, and runs right up to 2008 prison drama The Escapist, which gives him a rare and deserved starring role.
With his output of two films per week, he’s bound to bag an Oscar soon.
10. Amy Adams
Leo is also out-nommed by Amy Adams, quickly turning into the Meryl Streep of her generation. Unlike Meryl, however, Adams doesn’t have an Oscar.
What’s often forgotten about Streep is that despite winning two Oscars from her first four nominations, for Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice, she then went on a 12-nod losing streak that was finally broken by 2012’s The Iron Lady. Three wins from 19 nominations isn’t that great a haul, bizarrely.
Anyway, that’s what could be ahead of Adams if she keeps up her success rate, following nominations for Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master and American Hustle.
It’s surely only a matter of time before she’s taking home an Oscar statuette.